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Turkey being in the form of a peninsula consisting of a plateau rising an average height of 1000-1500 m. and surrounded by sea on three sides a very considerable amount of water flows down from the centre of this plateau into the seas surrounding it. The most important of these rivers are the Sakarya, the Kizilirmak, the Yesilirmak the Harsit Çayi and Çoruh in the north, all of which flow into the Black Sea: the Bakirçay the Gediz, the Greater and Lesser Menderes and the Dalaman in the west, all flowing into the Aegean: in the south the Düdençay, the Aksu, the Göksu, the Seyhan and Ceyhan, which all flow into the Mediterranean and finally the Tigris and the Euphrates in the south-east, both of which flow into the Gulf of Basra.

The amount of water in these rivers varies very markedly between the summer and winter months. The water in most of the waterfalls is so reduced in the summer that some of them practically dry up altogether while in others one only finds a meagre trickle of water. When we add to natural causes the water required of agricultural irrigation and the effect of the great dams and hydroelectric plants that supply the country’s energy needs it is not surprising to find that in summer most waterfalls are completely dry. It is therefore advisable to visit the Turkish waterfalls in the rainy seasons when there is an abundance or even superfluity of water.

The Dumanli underground river mingles with the Manavgat river. This is subject of a separate article.

The Tortum waterfall and Tortum Lake are dealt with elsewhere as are the Konya and Yerköprü waterfalls.

Düden river. Düdenbasi and the Düden waterfalls are the subject of the section “A Natural Wonder in Antalya”.

The Bendimahi (Muradiye) Waterfall (Van)

Bendimahi waterfall is one of the least known of our natural beauty spots. It lies 8 km from Muradiye about 90 km north-east of Lake Van. The Muradiye (Bendimahi) river rises from the volcanic formations and basalt lavas of Eastern Anatolia and apart from the main waterfall near the village of Degerbilir (fomerly knows as Gevrika) gives rise to a cascade of smaller waterfalls extending as far as the Devil’s Bridge 4 km away.

The Devil’s Bridge is itself a very old and interesting monument constructed in the basalt rock at a very narrow section of the river 4 km from Muradiye and we strongly advise anyone visiting this region to make a point of seeing it.

In 1985 a suspension bridge was built in front of the main waterfall thus providing visitors with a magnificent view of the waterfall and an ideal spot from which to take photographs.

Kursunlu Waterfall (Antalya)

The Kursunlu is a waterfall which is reduced to a mere trickle in the summer months. It is located 19 km from Antalya at the end of a 7 km road branching off to the north of the Antalya-Serik-Alanya highway at a point 12 km from Antalya.

The waterfall is on one of the tributaries of the Aksu river and its situation in the midst of a pine forest is of quite exceptional beauty. The countryside around the water forms a lovely picnic and pleasure spot only twenty minutes from the centre of the city of Antalya.

Manavgat Waterfall

The Manavgat waterfall is one of the best known waterfalls in Turkey. It is located on the Oymapinar dam road 3 km from the town of Manavgat 75 km west of Antalya. The water falls from a platform 2 m in height and since the construction of the Oymapinar dam, there has been a regular flow.

Tarsus Waterfall (Tarsus)

This Waterfall is located on the outskirts of the city of Tarsus. Since the construction of the Berdan regulator the water of the Tarsus river has been distributed in canals for irrigation, with the result that the waterfall can now be seen only in seasons of very heavy rainfall. The photograph reproduced here was taken twenty years ago.

Göksu Waterfall (Sivas)

The Göksu waterfall is located on the Göksu, a tributary of the Kizilirmak, near the large village of Sizir in the vicinity of Gemerek. A hydroelectric plant was erected on the Göksu river twenty-five years ago by the General Directorate of the Iller Bank in order to supply the city of Kayseri with electricity, but was later attached to the national grid.

The Karstic springs arising from the skirts of the Ali Dag mountain in the village of Sizir have been diverted by the construction of a dam into a canal leading to the hydroelectric plant, with the result that, like most of our waterfalls, the Göksu fall is worth visiting only in very rainy seasons.

Gürlevik Waterfalls (Erzincan)

These are situated 29 km south-east of Erzincan. In the years 1950-53, the State Hydraulic Works (D.S.I.) built a hydroelectric power plant at its lower section of 3040 KW. When third group was added in 1965, the water capacity of the Gürlevik power station rose to 3*866 1/sec. The Gürlevik waters fall from a travertine platform in a disorderly fashion.

Yerköprü (Konya)

One of our most valuable assets is situated in the province of Konya 116 km south-west of Hadim and on the river Göksu. This area is called “Yerköprü” where the Göksu river passes through a 500 metres long cave. Yerköprü is a natural bridge over the river formed of travertines.

Travertines are the result of limestone or a calcium carbonate compound melting in a carbon acid solution producing a perforated entity. This is most frequently seen in Antalya.

The Yerköprü travertine bridge is a natural phenomenon resulting from a landslide from both the right and left banks of the Göksu River. The landslide rubble blocked the front of the right bank gave rise to a calcareous tuft travertine which together formed a bridge.

What gives Yerköprü its remarkable beauty is that the Karasu spring both at its entrance and exit plunges over the travertine plateau into the Göksu bed with a 20 m drop. Thick vegetation grows over the Yerköprü at the spot where the waterfall flows and continues to grow both at the entrance and exit. This growth is today expanding rapidly.

To reach the Yerköprü cave from the Göksu river one enters at an altitude of 800 m. A syphon just near the mouth obstructs the entrance to the cave. (This means that the syphon mingles with the water at the ceiling of the cavern thereby closing it. Further on the ceiling is higher. Cave explorers can cross this section by diving if the water is deep enough). As will be seen from the sketch the section which is impassable is quite short. If it is desired to visit the cavern in a rubber dinghy, it is recommended that entry be from the exit. However due to its present untouched state only experienced speleologists should attempt to visit the cave. A winding staircase will enable tourists to take a boat trip in the cave on the “lake” formed here by the Göksu river. In the case of the Heaven and Hell Caves near Narlikuyu (Dilek). when opened to tourism a similar staircase was built.

The Yerköprü cave is a 2-hour drive from Konya and thus it could become a popular picnic and recreation spot. As it is also situated on flat ground, it is ideal for swimming-pools.

How to get to Yerköprü:
There are two routes and today they can both be covered by tourist buses.

Route 1: Turning south after 60 km on the Konya-Karaman highway to Karasinir village plus a further 11 km=71 km. Between Karasinir-Yerköprü is a good road. At the 82nd km you pass Karaagzi village and at 92nd km Habiller, after which one descends into the Göksu valley. At the Yerköprü-Göksu hydroelectric plant, 111 km distant, bearing right, Yerköprü is reached.

Route 2: After following the Konya-Hadim highway 121 km, turn at the Aladag sign, 10 km before Hadim in an easterly direction. Ten km before the road parts a very good gravel road 29 km long takes you to Yerköprü. Even though this road is a little longer, it is preferable.

The Göksu river first disappears underground and then reappears in the Taurus, and again before reaching Yerköprü, in the area of Bozkir. The last 5 km to this area is reached on foot about 25 km south of Bozkir via Bozkir-Üçpinar district in the south-west direction of Dedemli and near Dolhanlar village to Gökdere a source of the Göksu. A landslide from the left bank of the waters swelled, caused, through their pressure, a cavern to be formed on the right shore as the big fissure in the limestone expanded as a result of both mechanical and chemical erosion. Thus the stream which disappears underground at 1500 m, after traveling underground for 800 m, rises from the depths 1460 m later in the form of a boiling Vaucluse type spring.

Düden Waterfall Karstic System (Antalya)

Most of the domestic and foreign tourist visiting Antalya only see Düdenbasi falls without noticing how these falls come out from the deep section of the water by making a syphon (by pressure); and without knowing that these are the part of an exciting hydrogeologic and Karstic system.

At the 28th and 30th km’s of the old route from Antalya-Burdur (which goes through Dösemealti town) there appear two big Karstic sources.

Kirkgözler and Pinarbasi are the sources which are very rich waterwise, coincide after a very short flow and they disappear finally in Biyikli Sinkhole. Some of the sinkholes are so big that they can swallow a huge river or a big lake. In this region there are the Sugla (Konya) big sinkhole the Biyikli sinkhole with its output of 30 m3/sec and which can swallow 30.000 1/sec. This quantity is the output of Kirkgöz and Pinarbasi springs at inundation.

The water which disappears at Biyikli Sihkhole goes 14 km underground and comes out again at Varsak pit; after a very short fall it disappears again from the other end. To understand the mechanism correctly you must follow the map and schema. The water which disappears at Varsak goes underground for 2 km and comes out again at Düdenbasi by pressure made by a syphon. The water which falls from Düdenbasi is the water coming from Kepez Hydroelectrical Complex. By all these actions (water coming in and out) Kepez Hydroelectrical Complex has been built.

By means of regulator built in front of the Biyikli Sinkhole, the waters of Kirkgözler and Pinarbasi are directed into a canal and then by a long canal to the Kepez Hydroelectric Plant to the collector from where by a pressure pipe it is carried to the balancing funnel and then dropped over the plant’s turbines.

The water from the plant’s discharge unit is brought to Düdenbasi again by a long canal where it forms artificial cascades. From there the amount of water is that of a large river and this water by means of seven irrigation trenches is used to irrigate the land north-east of the city of Antalya.

After Düdenbasi the waters of Düdençay separate into a number of streams and finally east of Antalya at a height of 40 m plunge from a platform into the Mediterranean in the form of cascades.

At the spot where the cascades fall into the Mediterranean is an attractive park. In spring when water is plentiful this is a sight not to be missed. They can be seen from the sea by talking a boat trip from Antalya yacht harbour, which is a very pleasant trip.

Karapinar Crater Lakes (Konya)

Close to the township of Karapinar, 95 km east of Konya, lies one of the world’s natural wonders the Mekedag Salt Crater Lakes and which can easily be reached by a tourist coach, as it takes you within 2 km. along the Konya-Eregli highway in a southerly direction. The Meke salt crater lake, beautiful enough to be included in the world’s geomorphology literature is an example of a Caldera. “Caldera” is a world of Spanish origin but is it now used worldwide to describe a volcano with two mouths one inside the craters of volcanoes and which rise up. In the case of the Meke salt lake a second eruption took place inside the first giving rise to a second mouth within the crater lake itself. Seen from the air it resembles Mexican hat, with a lake forming a ring around a peak in the centre.

The Turkish Monopolies administration used to extract salt from the Mekedag salt crater lake and the ruins of the ancient salt mine can still be seen. The water level of the lake is 981 m. the height of the second small crater inside the large crater is 1120 m. The crater’s circumference is approximately 4 km. Facing the high plateau village of Karapinar (Kürtül plateau) which is a left turn after traveling 6 km. along the Eregli main road, is an earth road going south and which leads to the shore of the crater. As trucks use this road to load building material from the shore of the crater it is in good condition.

Acigöl Crater Lake

This lies 3 km north-west of the Mekedag crater lake, turning left on the Konya-Karapinar-Eregli highway. This lake, which can be seen from the highway is at the same level as Mekedag lake. It is in a hollow 70 m from the road. As will be understood from its name the water in this lake is bitter and not potable. It is circular and covers an area of approximately 1 km². When descending to the shore of the lake one encounter volcanic tufa and sand layers and is said to be deep.

By moonlight the waters of the lake sparkle and shine like the sea’s phosphorescence.

Kovada Lake National Park (Isparta)

Kovada Lake is the result of the overflowing of lake Egridir. Between both lakes and all around the Kovada lake can be seen Karstic patterns, with these and as a result of chemical changes within the limestone, sink holes which swallow up the water appear. In the ground between Egridir and Kovada lakes the waters of the lower Egridir lake used to flood, while the sinkholes east and especially west of the alluvial plain stretching north-west absorbed the water. Finally DSI deepened the bed of the lake’s outlet and the formerly frequent flooding ceased.

As a result the water from lake Egridir passing into a deepening canal flows regularly. When Kovada I hydroelectric power station was installed, the water was taken from Kovada lake. A canal from Egridir lake brought out. Subsequently the system was changed and now with a small regulator on the canal carrying the water from Egridir lake, some water is left in the lake. This needs to be regularly checked and measures taken to prevent a big drop in the water level, whereas in mid-September 1984 the water level of Kovada lake had dropped by 4-5 metres and the hundreds of plane trees surrounding the the lake had dried up. The sink holes situated on the shores of Kovada lake and particularly south of the lake in the district of Denizalti naturally kept the lakes at a stable level. During flooding most of the sinkholes are reactivated and prevent the Kovada lake from rising, in any case this is why the Kovada lake could not be used as a reservoir and because of this, without putting any strain on the hydrologic functioning, too much water should not be drawn from the water leaving the lake. The best way of checking it would be as formerly, to draw it into a closed lake and to make do with the amount of water coming out from it as thanks to the balance of nature lake Kovada was named a national park. Otherwise with the water level dropping by 4-5 metres the vegetation will be affected and take shore will be denuded. The surplus water running into the lake should be directed to the sinkholes. The sinkholes in the Denizalti district are now 100-150 m below ground level. The waters of the lake’s southern sinkholes flow underground for a distance of 5-6 km south into the Gökpinar karstic spring which bursts its banks. As soon as possible the Gökpinar springs with an output of 3 m3/sec should be supplemented partly by the Kovada lakeside sinkholes and partly from the small underground streams flowing from another direction from inside the limestone massif. Erection of the Kovada I hydroelectric power station announced in 1951, was opened to operation in 1960 and was constructed by the General Directorate of the Iller Bank.*

* This includes all local authorities, municipal and rural bodies, and other decentralized public administrations.

DSI built the Kovada II hydroelectric power station and put it into operation in 1971 and obtained the water from nearby the exit point of Kovada I. This installation with a power capacity of 53 MW, produces more than 7 times the power of Kovada I. The Kocaçay stream from the Kovada Lake after passing through Kovada I and II power stations goes on to become the main tributary of the Aksu near Antalya, which runs into the Mediterranean .

“Kovada Lake has all the qualities of an open air recreational area, and as it is far from highways and city centres has been able to preserve its natural environment. It is imperative that these characteristics be preserved and kept under control and organized to provide the public with a cool place to relax in during the summer. Kovada Lake and its surroundings is one of the places in Turkey blessed by the almigthy with unparalleled natural beauty.

As a living national source, Kovada Lake should be maintained for future generations.”

Ucan Waterfalls: Like heaven on earth

by: Hasan Ustun, Antalya- Turkish Daily News

“It is written in the Koran that in heaven water will flow beneath your feet. The Ucan 1 Waterfall is like seeing heaven while living on earth.” That is the highlight of the description Dilek is going to give her mother, who was ill and had to remain at home, of her visit to the Ucan 1 and Ucan 2 Waterfalls in the vicinity of Antalya’s Gebiz sub-province.

When we arrived outside the club building of TODOSK (the Taurus Mountain Sports Club), it looked as though a small bus station had been established. “Friends, today we have more than 200 people on seven buses. It’s a big crowd. In order not to cause confusion, please don’t forget me,” our guide Faik told us and repeated the warning in English to 20 foreign guests on his bus. The convoy of seven small buses set off at 8.00 a.m. with a first stop at Gebiz, 47 km from Antalya. Here needs were met for food, drink and so forth which had been overlooked in the hurry of leaving home early.

From Gebiz, there are two roads, an upper and a lower one, leading to the Ucan Waterfalls. The road which runs below the waterfalls from Akcapinar village eight kilometers from Gebze is very well-known. The road we took, though, was unknown and difficult, hard to find without a guide. A short time after taking this road, we were forced to ford a wide stream which flows from the waterfalls. The buses took us straight across in a style which made jeeps unnecessary. A Norwegian tourist sitting next to me, seeing the red earth road, the green forests on either side and the white of the snow on the peaks of the Taurus Mountains, said it was very like northern Norway. As we were thinking we were climbing to the summit of the Taurus instead of the waterfalls, Kozan village appeared before us and all the buses stopped at its entrance. As we got off, the children and old men of the village surrounded us. For whatever reason, there were no women around. The villagers were trying to understand why more than 200 people should descend on their hamlet of just 20 houses at 9 o’clock on a Sunday morning. From here we were to continue on foot. After everybody, including dogs, had drunk, washed their faces and refreshed themselves with the icy water flowing from the village fountain, we set off under the guidance of the villagers. Amongst our local guides was the village imam, Mustafa. Because, despite all his efforts, Kozan’s economic situation was progressively worsening, the young imam Mustafa lived far from the village in Antalya and this was his greatest concern. In the hope that the increasing traffic of visitors to the fountains would provide a solution, he provided us with information in such a way as to render a professional guide unnecessary.

After an hour’s walk amongst wildflowers, especially Manisa tulips and daisies, we arrived at Ucan 2. The beauty of the waterfall and its surroundings made everybody forget their tiredness. As we began our picnic meal in front of the extremely pleasing panorama of the waterfall, photo-hunters like me gave way to the excitement of trying to get the best shot. One photographer friend guaranteed the job by using three different cameras with black-and-white, color print and color slide film. Somebody who was so overcome by the beauty of the scene that she neglected to look in front of her escaped lightly from an accident when the inside of the tree trunk she struck with her foot and which then fell on top of her proved to be hollow. Despite all the guide’s warnings accidents such as thisstill occurred. The small pools formed at the bottom of the waterfall made some of the group lose their senses. I was extremely jealous of those who, filled with the joy of spring, plunged into the water in their underwear. However, as somebody who had previously survived pneumonia, I consoled myself by taking pictures of them. Two hours later the group gathered again and we set out for the Ucan 1 Waterfall, three to four kilometers below. This provides an even more magnificent view than Ucan 2, flowing over a wider area and from a greater height. Two hundred people took turns to shoot their souvenir pictures.

Because the vehicles which had brought us were waiting in Kozan village, we had to climb back up the way we had descended. But never mind. Seeing heaven before death was bound to have some difficulty attached. On the way back I asked a Danish yachting couple which was more beautiful, the seashore or the land. “The countryside is more beautiful with all kinds of waterfalls, rivers and lakes,” they replied. Tommy Madsen and his wife, who have been staying on their yacht “Helena” at the Setur Marina since October 1996, have, under the leadership of their friend Gisela Bacher, visited historical sites and beauty spots around Antalya every weekend. Some of these visits have been made with TODOSK. Gisela pointed out that sightseeing with TODOSK is different, explaining, “They give to others journeys of discovery they themselves have made previously. In particular, TODOSK takes people to little-known places where few tourists go.” In fact, never mind the tourists, very few Antalya citizens realize that these little pieces of heaven on earth exist so close to their city.

Tortum Lake and Waterfall (Erzurum)

One of the most remarkable natural treasures of Turkey and of Eastern Turkey in particular, is the Tortum Lake and Waterfall, 100km north of Erzurum. The lake 8 km long and 1 km wide was formed as the result of a great landslide which blocked the valley though which the Tortum River flowed. At the same time the water sought a new outlet over a fault with a drop of 40m. The hollow left in the Kemerlidag slope on the left of the valley by the fall of rock is still clearly visible.

Some geologists say that this landslide is a very old one. These experts, among whom are to be counted a number of foreign geologists believe that the landslide took place at the end of the Quaternary period. However there is also another opinion on this subject that the landslide was comparatively recent and could not have occured more than a few centuries ago.

The Tortum Waterfall was the largest and most beautiful waterfall in Turkey. Since the completion of the Tortum Hydroelectric Plant water is drawn from the lake though canals and tunnels and allowed to rush down into the turbines. The waterfall is fed only from the surplus water and thus now functions only for a very short time during the winter months when the water level of the lake is exceptionally high. Now during the summer months the bed of this magnificent waterfall is dry.

After the great waterfall with its drop of 48 m. the river flowed over a series of cascades until its arrival in the Tevs Valley. The combination of cascades and waterfall was particularly beautiful. At the same time four small lakes were formed on the rubble from the landslide by water seeping from underground through the material from the rock fall. The water of these lakes is remarkably clear and blue.

These four small lakes-Incegöl, Karagöl, Efendigilin Gölü and Nazligilin Gölü-contain large quantities of trout. The Tortum Lake is surrounded by limestone marls of the Cretaceous Period. Earth pillars can be seen on the eastern shores of the lake. The view of the lake from the steep slopes along the edge is particularly beautiful as this is a landslide lake is depth begins from zero and reaches 100 in the deepest part. The lake lies about 100 m above sea level.

The Seven lakes National Park (Bolu)

A well-known author described the Seven Lakes National Park as “an emerald in the forested area of the western Black Sea” and the lakes lie north east of the province of Bolu. While the area can be reached by a 40 km stabilized road turning out of Bolu, the better way is talking the Mengen-Devrek-Zonguldak road between Gerede and Yenicaga, from there to Mengen-Kaynarcahan-Dirgine the former being reached at 152. nd km along the Ankara-Istanbul highway.

The Seven Lakes area is particularly famous in the autumn and one should especially visit it during autumn and spring. The autumn colours of yellow brown and red in various tones endow it with unparalleled beauty.

In 1965 the Ministry of Forest turned the Seven Lakes into a National Park. in1969 a trout production station was set up with a capacity of 1 million fertilized trout eggs annually. There is also a project to increase the stag population.

The seven lakes are the result of landslide which blocked the small valleys. To prevent the land from sliding further a simple expedient of placing wooden props made of oak logs over the running stream water in step form was utilized.of the lakes four were permanently and three were sometimes dried up in the summer months. The waters of the Seven Lakes came from the Kara stream. Behind the obstruction brought about by the landslide losing the valley the lake formed and the stream waters after the resulting depressions had been filled flowed away over them.

The big lake is on the bottom level which is 780 metres high, the depth ca.15 metres. Towards the end of of summer together with the deep lake is a small dried up lake at the bottom step. The Nazli lake, Sazli lake and two other small frequently dried up lakes can be found 100 m higher up at 880 m elevation. Most of the seven lakes resulting from the landslide are small and the largest is the Büyük lake which occupies an area of 22.5 hectares followed by the Nazli lake which covers an area of 16.5 hectares.

While like other national parks the Seven Lakes are still not endowed with full touristic facilities, it is nevertheless a very attractive recreation area. It is mostly visited by people traveling between Istanbul and Ankara, or when a daily tour is organized from the Bolu hotels and motels or the Abant hotels. Some Istanbul travel agencies organize daily tours from Istanbul to visit the lakes.

Subject to certain restrictions (min. 23 cm small and max. number fished 3), amateur trout fishing is permitted. To allow amateur fishermen to enjoy this sport at the National Park. trout is artificially produced in the lakes. However during the breeding season between November and May fishing is strictly prohibited.

The Obruk Lakes (Konya)

The Obruk (karstic) Lakes, with their special features are only to be found in the Konya region in fact these Budurin lakes exist only in Turkey but for a very long time have been inaccurately named still today in some books on geography and geomorphology they are described as windows opening on to the surface of the earth from underground waters, whereas these Obruk lakes are opening from under-ground waterways, which were formed by the very seeping of water through fissures and crevices in the limestone rock.

The water of the Obruk lakes enters through one end and exits through the other. Actually as put forward in a number of geography books there is a movement in the bottom of the lake an emptying but the deep bowl in the shape of a basin cannot develop only through chemical erosion. When the movement of water results in a combination of chemical erosion rising from below to the surface and erosion downwards from the surface the last layer of rock which forms a very slender bridge finally collapses and a round or rather elliptical Obruk lake makes its appearance. The movement of the obruk lakes is very slow and cannot be seen with the naked eye. When the villagers wash wool in the lake, however pieces are found on the other side of the lake the following morning. This indicates the movement and direction the lake moves in which is SE-NW. The Obruk lake region in the province of Konya lies in a north west direction in the district of Karapinar. Other lakes in this important region lie south and south east of Konya. the axis of these lakes is usually between 100-250 m.

Kizören Obruk Lake

Sixty five km northeast in the province of Konya along the Aksaray-Nevsehir highway is the subdistrict of Kizören, and 4 km to the north is an Obruk lake also known as the Kizören Obruk. Lakes of similar formation in other places are also known as obruk. The long axis of Kizören is 180 m. and the short axis 150 m. the depth 145 m. A quantity of 108 1. per second can be withdrawn from the lake.